Louie Yang

image of Louie Yang

Assistant Professor

Departments

Population Biology
Entomology

Offices and Labs

380K Briggs Hall
530 754 3261

Degrees

2006 PhD Population Biology UC Davis
1999 BA Biology - Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Cornell University

Research Interests

Overview

I am working to develop a temporally explicit view of ecology that examines how ecological communities combine complex, coordinated and changing interactions over time. I am particularly interested in community responses to strong perturbation events, the phenology of seasonal community assembly, stage-structured species interactions, and the effects of climate change on the timing of species interactions.

What are the consequences of shifts in the relative timing of species interactions in the milkweed-arthropod community?

A fundamental goal of community ecology is to understand the consequences of species interactions. However, the consequences of species interactions can change dramatically in time due to seasonal changes in the community (phenology) and in the developmental stages of interacting organisms (ontogeny). Understanding how species interactions change over time due to phenology and ontogeny is a key challenge for understanding how real-world communities function.


In many ways, the reality of climate change has made understanding coordinated temporal dynamics in species interactions more urgent. On a global scale, climate change is causing most seasonal life-history events to occur earlier than they have in the historical past. However, while most populations are advancing their phenologies to varying degrees, some show little phenological change, and others show delayed phenologies. As a result, climate change is altering the relative timing of species interactions in many communities. I’m interested in understanding the causes and consequences of these changes. I believe that addressing the complex consequences of climate change will require a deeper understanding of the temporal dimension in community dynamics. A temporally explicit view of ecology aims to understand how species interactions are coordinated in time, and the implications of disrupting this coordination.


In this project, I am attempting to apply a general, conceptual framework (the “phenology-ontogeny landscape”) to the timing of interactions between milkweeds and monarch caterpillars.

How do pulsed subsidies of seaweed affect island communities?

Understanding how spatial and temporal variation in resource availability affects ecological communities is a central goal for ecology. Resource pulses, defined as ephemeral periods of increased resource availability, provide unique opportunities to explore how resources influence community structure and dynamics. This project aims to investigate how community responses to resource pulses are affected by resource-pulse frequency and magnitude, the ability (or inability) of consumers to aggregate in areas with pulsed resources, the indirect effects of consumers on alternative prey, and the aboveground and belowground pathways of key interactions through ecosystems.


This project uses two experimental studies in a Bahamian island ecosystem designed to investigate how terrestrial communities respond to pulsed subsidies of seaweed deposited on shorelines and small islands.

Department and Center Affiliations

Department of Entomology
Center for Population Biology

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Animal Behavior
Population Biology

Specialties / Focus

Animal Behavior
  • Behavior Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Behavior and Conservation

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Graduate Group in Ecology

Courses

ENT 105 Insect Ecology (Fall)
EVE/ENT 180 Ecology and Evolution in the Field (Winter/Spring)